Running backs are flying off the board in fantasy football drafts these days and will continue to do so. With no preseason games this summer, the strategy for drafting running backs in fantasy has to change — there’s just no way to make sense of the more crowded backfields before the season starts. This is making the top tiers of running backs even more valuable, as they’re the only ones with bankable playing time.
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There will certainly be some RBs to hit after Round 4, but they're longer shots than usual. Plus, the extra running backs being drafted early are pushing quality wide receivers back, making it even more crucial to get in on the RB run early.
The following are my fantasy football RB tiers for 2020. You can find my 2020 quarterback tiers here.
Tier 1 – Pick 1.01
It’s a pretty clear consensus by most fantasy experts — including all of PFF's rankers and our projections — that McCaffrey should be the top pick in almost all league formats. Even if he doesn’t see the ridiculous playing time he had last year, he should still be the favorite to lead running backs in targets while ranking among the top few in carries. If you have 1.01, pick McCaffrey and move on.
Tier 2 – Top of the 1st Round
The top four running backs off the board in 2019 should also be the top four off the board in 2020. Four of our five rankers have these three in some order as the second, third and fourth running backs this year. All three finished in the top 10 of fantasy production in 2019, even though Kamara and Barkley both missed games. None of their teams drafted a running back to potentially take snaps. You can argue about draft order, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Tier 3 – Elite Potential